FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- February 06, 2014
Contact: Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
PSC Staff Files Report In Kansas City Natural Gas Incident
JEFFERSON CITY---The Staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission has filed its report in connection with a natural gas incident that occurred in Kansas City, Missouri on February 19, 2013.
Staff’s report indicates that on February 19, 2013, at approximately 6:02pm, a natural gas explosion and fire occurred at 910 W. 48th Street (JJ’s Restaurant). Staff reports that it has determined that the probable cause of the incident was the escape of natural gas from the 2-inch diameter polyethylene main installed along the north side of W. 48th Street. Upon excavating the site, an approximate 2-inch by 2-inch hole was found in the top of the main. Natural gas escaped from the hole and migrated through backfill material beneath the street, alley and sidewalk and through nearby sanitary sewers. The migrating natural gas accumulated within the structure to an explosive gas-in-air mixture and was ignited by an undetermined ignition source.
In its report, Staff alleges that based upon reports of strong odor of natural gas and the hissing and bubbling of natural gas blowing from the pothole near where the main damage was believed to have occurred, Staff alleges MGE should have begun investigating the migration of natural gas pursuant to steps listed in MGE’s Emergency Plan. Staff alleges that, “sufficient evidence exists to assert that MGE violated Missouri Public Service Commission (MoPSC) Rules…regarding its actions to protect persons and property subsequent to the damage to the natural gas main by not conducting effective leak investigations as required by [Commission rules].” Concurrent with the PSC Staff report, Staff has filed a complaint against MGE.
The PSC Staff report contains a number of recommendations and asks that the Commission order MGE to file an action plan at such time as the Commission designates.